Rapid City, S.D.-based National American University, whose plan to hire hundreds at a new support center in Albuquerque, has a “handshake agreement” to lease about 4,000 square feet of temporary starter space at First Plaza Galeria in Downtown, according to Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate.
The university is still looking at Albuquerque’s office market for space to meet its longer-term needs, said Joe Farr, Gemini’s senior vice president of asset management. According to the news release announcing the university’s plans, National American eventually plans to occupy 35,000 to 40,000 square feet.
Headquartered in Santa Fe with a portfolio of 16 office properties in Albuquerque, Gemini has had a long relationship with National American University, Farr noted. The university’s Albuquerque location has been at one of Gemini’s properties, Pinetree Corporate Center at 4775 Indian School NE, since 1999.
Gemini also owns the six-story First Plaza at the corner of Second and Copper, which is marketed for lease by Dave Hill and Steve Kraemer of NAI Maestas & Ward. First Plaza saw about 100,000 square feet vacated last spring when Gap Inc.’s Corporate Shared Services Center moved to the North I-25 corridor.
National American University, which has 36 bricks-and-mortar locations in the Southwest, is represented in its search for a building to put its Distance Learning National Operations Center by Scott Whitefield of Colliers International.
According to Tuesday’s news release from the state Economic Development Department, the university plans to open its center in December but staff it up gradually.
Albuquerque was picked for the center, which consolidates operations now spread across the university system, after National American began its site selection search by looking at 110 metros across the country. Albuquerque kept making the cut until, in the end, it was selected over the other finalists Fort Worth and Phoenix, according to the news release.
Farr, who works for a company that’s becoming a global player in commercial real estate, said he was impressed by the way that various state and local agencies and offices, including Albuquerque Economic Development, created an environment that won the university over.